The Standard & Poors 500 Index halted a five-day rally, while small-cap shares rose to the highest level since July, as gains among phone and consumer stocks offset losses in utilities and growing concern over slowing growth in Europe.

The S&P 500 lost 0.1 percent to 2,038.21 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 2.89 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 17,612.01. Both gauges closed at all-time highs yesterday.

The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to the highest since March 2000, while the Russell 2000 Index of small companies added 0.6 percent to cap a six-day rally, its longest since June.

The S&P 500 had gained for five straight sessions, bringing its advance from a six-month low in October to 9.5 percent, as better-than-estimated corporate earnings and economic data boosted confidence the U.S. economy is weathering a global slowdown.

The broader index fell as much as 9.8 percent from a September record on increasing signs that European growth was slowing at the same time the Federal Reserve was ending its monthly bond purchases.

Source : Bloomberg